Chicago's Charles Lauste + GRWYF$ Release New Mixtape "ZNO" [Review]

-Hani Bello (@LoveMyOpinions)

Chicago DJ and producer Charles Lauste and GRWYF$ teamed up once again and delivered a well produced and lyrical mixtape entitled, "ZNO". The mixtape featured a number of talented, soulful singers who made this mixtape even more enjoyable to listen to. Through intros, interludes, and outros the listener will get a new perspective of GRWYF$.

"Dreams" ft. Kayla Davion, Sydney Jay, Bk Bambino, and Young 99 
-"Dreams" was a great introduction to the "ZNO" mixtape. It started off with vocals by Kayla which was just beautiful. This track is just about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. Between the musical instrumentation and amazing vocals by Kayla Davion and Sydney Jay, I couldn't get enough of it. The production was just classic. Of course the lyrics from BK and Young was on point, I was so focused on the  vocals for the two female soul singer.

"Show The World" ft. Jabari and Bk Bambino 
-"Show The World" was a real chill song...it's a love song about how the couple could show the world how much they care and love each other. This track gave me Jade De LaFeur vibes and maybe a little bit of Solange Knowles too. I love this track....I really don't like love duets, especially with rappers and singers but I love this record.

"Sole" ft. Young 99
-"Sole" was more of a lyrical piece. The beat. The hook. The lyrics. Without all the components this song would of failed. Even though I'm still trying to figure out what this song is about,  it doesn't really matter. I did enjoy some parts of the song..... I dont know how many times I replayed and listened to that "Automatic onomatopoeia" line. Now that's how you use a poetic device! (Take notes). Overall, "Sole" just seems like a poem that was said out loud to an amazing beat.

"WWAR" ft. Bk Bambino, J-Hop, and Kayla Davion
-The beginning of "WWAR" was basically a club banger, but then it turned into a more enjoyable song. It started to sound more like a war song. With autotune throughout the record and soulful vocals from Kayla Davion, the track seemed more complex, eccentric, yet mysterious.

"NuLuv" ft. Shawnee Day  
-I really really really really really really enjoyed this R&B interlude. Shawnee graced us with this soulful track on a dominant Hip Hop mixtape. And this track was a perfect placement for this mixtape I must add. As I digress, Shawnee sung about her new love, and how she is taking a new approach to this new situation. The production was simple...just perfect. CHVRLESLVUSTE sampled Musiq Soulchild's "Love" for this record. At this point I don't know what else CHVRLESLVUSTE (Charles Lavuste)  is capable of. 

"Forbidden" ft. Bk Bambino and Jabari 
-"Forbidden" is my favorite song of the mixtape, hands down! Bk Bambino rapped about a rare female he is interested in. This rare female is more of a forbidden fruit than a cherished fruit. She's so bad, but so right to have...tempting. Jabari sung as the forbidden female. She's confident and independent...controls every situation. The production was great of course! It was very mysterious and complex.

"The Influence" ft. J-Hop
-"The Influence" is my second favorite song on the mixtape. CHVRLESLVUSTE sampled the Notorious BIG's "Party and Bullshit" for this record. In this record, J-Hop rapped about being under the influence of a substance. "The Influence" was a very playful track. Enjoyed the ending narration as well. 
   
"If I die ft. Shawnee Day and Jabari Rayford   
- This is the best song on this mixtape. Shawnee Day and Johari Ratford beautifully graced this record with their heavenly angel like voices. The fusion of the spectacular vocals and radiant instruments just blessed my ears. I was very disappointed that "If I Die" was only 1 minute and 36 seconds long because it was worthy of more. How did I know this song was over? Well Femdot began to rap on the same beat and I then knew my glimpse of heaven was shattered. 

"Lord Save Me" ft Femdot
-"Lord Save Me" was the most thought out song on this mixtape. Not only was it storytelling, it was poetic. I enjoy Femdot expressing how thankful he is for being alive because he has experienced and witnessed a lot of tragic in Chicago...how the most peaceful story can easily turn into a tragedy. I can personally related to "Lord Save Me" so this song is just a reflection of the life I have lived. The concept of the song is very complex; it discusses religious, violence etc. Femdot had a metaphor or simile for evey situation he rapped about in this record. "Lord Save Me" was another well executed poetic piece that Femdot can put on his Lyrical Resume.
                  
"Failure" ft Young 99 and J-Hop
-I wish that the outro to "Failure" was the entire song because I didn't really enjoy the first 4 minutes of the song. The outro to "Failure" had one of the best beats on the mixtape. Everybody's flow and lyrics were on point! I enjoyed J-Hop and Femdot, but I think Femdot owned "Failure", his metaphors and similies were poisonous. 
Overall I enjoyed "ZNO"; the vocals and the production were the key components that were memorable for me. Getting to hearing the producer, CHVRLESLVUSTE, switch from lyrical pieces to a club banger, to soulful R&B  records was very intriguing. This project was an absolute success.

Check out the project below: